Monday, April 18, 2011

Asian Pickles

I love pickles, all kinds of pickles, especially Asian pickles.  I found that many are very easy to make and much cheaper than buying them at the store.!

 Korean Bordeaux Radish

I found this radish at the Korean market and bought it because they were so big and colorful.  I assumed that they were like a daikon radish, but wasn't sure.  My plan was to make simple salted pickles with them, but saved some to roast with a chicken.  After eating them with the chicken it seemed it had the texture of a turnip, so I tried looking up on the internet what it really was.  There were a few finds on it, but not many, so I ended asking a Korean friend of mine if she knew what it was.  She said that it was a Bordeaux Radish, but she'd never seen anybody buy it Here I thought that it was a very common Korean vegetable and it turned out that was wrong!

 Simply Salted

I sliced them then salted them and let it sit for over an hour until alot of liquid leeched out.  I then rinsed them and put it in a container that squishes everything down and let them sit at room temperature overnight. It also has kombu (seaweed), carrots & lemon peel to add more flavor.

 End Product

It was ready about 12 hours later.  It was a little salty, so I rinsed them again in water and put it in a container and refrigerated it.  The end :o)

Let's Eat!


I think my favorite is Kimchi.  I've tried many ways of making it, but I think I finally figured out a good recipe! The only problem I have is it never comes out the  It's because I never use the exact same amount of the Napa cabbage and therefore, the salt ratio differs and I don't measure the salt!  I like to mix both Napa Cabbage and Japanese Daikon. Most of the ingredients I can get at the Japanese market, but for some I do need to go to the Korean market, especially for the chili flakes. The veggies at the Korean market are much cheaper too!  I've mixed up several recipes together, but the base I use from this website...

A Korean friend of mine told me about this site.  It's great because it has many other recipes too!  What's good about this recipe is that you cut up the cabbage into small pieces, so the Kimchi ferments faster and doesn't take up as much space. It also is much easier to mix up with the chili mixture.  The traditional way is to cut the cabbage into quarters and then to put the chili mixture under each leaf.  It's very time consuming.  After mixing everything up, the container is covered and sits out overnight to a day (depending on how fermented you like it...I like it ripe!) and then placed in the refrigerator 

Before putting it into the refrigerator, I divide it up into different containers that I can find :o)  Old jars and tupperware etc.  My last batch was equivalent to 5 32 oz jars!  I do share with friends sometimes;o)  When the kimchi gets transferred I really need to be careful that I don't fill the container to the top because it still ferments and gas builds up and the contents expands.  Even after being careful, there's been many times that I find Kimchi juice all over the refrigerator or the

 Ready to Eat :o)

The coloring seems to always be different too.  Sometime very dark red and sometimes light like this batch.  I guess it depends on how much chili flakes were used ;o)

 Nukamiso (Nukazuke)

This is another favorite of mine.  It's a Japanese style pickle.  Nuka is rice bran.  I grew up with the term Nukamiso, but I see it quite often referred as Nukazuke which both basically mean "pickled in rice bran".  My grandmother also told me that when she was growing up she would always see the Geisha's rubbing Nuka on their skin to make it beautiful in the public baths.  Geisha are NOT prostitutes or Call Girls, they are hostesses and performers in a good sense;o)

The Nukamiso is similar to sourdough because the best way to make the base is to get a small amount of someone else's that has already been started and that would be the "seed". My "seed" is from my mother/grandmother.  When my grandmother was visiting us from Japan around 1970 she was flabbergasted that my mother didn't have any Nukamiso, so she made it for her.  My mother hates the taste of it, but ever the good wife, she made pickles for my dad everyday :o)  Of course, she eventually  and the batch ended up in the back of her refrigerator until I decided I wanted to make it.  The top of it was all bad, so I just threw that part out and took the portion that was in the very middle and used that as my base and then added fresh rice bran and went through the method of making new Nukamiso.  My sister-in-law in Japan also decided that she wanted to make it, so I ended up giving her a small batch of mine and she took it home to  But she eventually let hers die...

This is a very old website, but where I got the "recipe" to start my new batch which I started about 3 years ago.   In Japanese there are tons of threads about this, but not too many in English, I can speak Japanese, but can't read it :o(

 After the veggies are tucked in...

The problem with Nukamiso is that you have to tend to it everyday because it is living.  You need to stir it at least once a day and even twice a day if it is an extremely hot day. It's kept at room temperature.  If it does start to get dull or the portion gets smaller and smaller you just keep adding more rice bran to it.  Adding beer, dry mustard, egg shells, and dried chiles helps to perk it up too.  I don't pickle veggies everyday, but I do stir it ;o)  If we are on vacation, I just put it into the refrigerator until we get back, it "sleeps" in  What's great about this is that you can pickle so many different types of veggies ie. daikon, carrots, nasu (eggplant), kabu (turnips), turnip greens, daikon greens, celery, cabbage, kyuri (cucumbers) etc.  Depending on the veggie and how pickled you like it, it can take anywhere from 12 hours to over a day.  I like mine "ripe", so I leave it in over a day.

The thing in the middle is a tea strainer for a tea pot.  The veggies give out water, so the Nukamiso gets watery.  The strainer pools the liquid, so then I can just take a paper towel, absorb it, then throw it out.

Daikon & Carrots

After taking the veggies out, it needs to be rinsed off.  You cannot eat the Nukamiso!  I like it with a little soy sauce and togarashi (Japanses Chili Flakes).  

 Daikon Leaves

I love pickling Daikon Leaves & Turnip Greens.  I chop it up and mix it with Ochazuke (Rice w/hot Green Tea) or Japanese version of Jook (Rice Gruel) or even put it into soups.

 Chopped Up and Ready for the Frig!

Hakusai Tsukemono

This is one of the most basic and simplest of Japanese pickles.  It's Napa Cabbage, shreds of carrot, green onion, I sometimes put Daikon in it, Lemon Peel (or Yuzu if you can find it) etc.  It's made just like the Bordeaux Radish by salting it, letting it sit for a while, rinsing it and then putting it in a container like this.  I think the reason for having weight/pressure on it is to keep the air out as much as possible between the leaves and it forces the liquid out.

A couple of hours later...

See how much liquid comes out!  It's ready to eat in 12 hrs - 1 day...


Served with soy sauce & togarashi.  Most all these pickles would go with any Japanese dish!  A traditional Japanese breakfast would be pickles, rice, miso soup, a raw egg to mix up and put into your rice, grilled fish & green tea :o)


  1. Thanks Anon! I love all bright colors, that's why I ended up buying the Bordeaux Radish;o)

  2. Great post! I love vegetable pickles. I'd really like to find that Korean radish.

  3. What a great post! I don't usually pickle anything, but these look wonderful! Such great colors and flavors!

  4. What an informative post! I love kimchi and just had kimchi jjigae for dinner. That purplish Korean radish looks very interesting but I've never seen it at the Korean market I go to.

    I just bought a book on tsukemono with a lot of wonderful pickle recipes I would love to try. I did not realize the nukamiso can be kept for years and years.

  5. Hi Rosemary, my Korean friend's mother said that she's never seen the purple radishes and they aren't Korean, but I bought them at a K Store and they are labeled as K Thanks, I love all kinds of pickles too, I especially liked your Haitian one!

    Thanks, Erin, colors really do make a difference!

    Biren, yum, kimchi jigae!! Isn't fun seeing all the different types of Japanese puckles you can make! It is pretty amazing how long nukamiso can last as long as you take care of it;-)